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More often than not, organizations are using social media as a tool to keep tabs on their employees. They will connect with as many employees as possible and then have some loyal office person keep tabs on what’s being said about the organization. This action, as long as the information gathered is looked at objectively and used constructively, can be a useful tool.

I’ve known many people who have posted the good and bad about their organization’s issues. This information, when used correctly, can add value to any organization.

It’s been my experience that when someone praises their organization, or a part of it, in a social media site, this information is dismissed as not worthy of discussion. On the other hand, when someone steps up and posts a comment that can be construed as negative, they’re immediately hauled into an office where they’re instructed to cease all negative posts about the organization. My issue with this is not in the attempt to protect the organization’s image, but rather the lack of any attempt to address and resolve the issues which led to the negative posts in the first place.

When employees or constituents offer positive or negative information about what’s going on in their working lives, their insight should be taken seriously. Verification of the legitimacy of all claims should be sought. All too often, the goal is just to squash the negative publicity without ever addressing the problem. However, the goal should be to use the information to the organization’s advantage. If you truly want the number of negative posts to decrease and the positive ones to increase, you must take the good with the bad. Ask the employees or constituents what their expectations are and how you can better serve them and then deliver on those expectations. Failure to address the issue is a failure on your part to be a part of the solution. There’s no value added in the collection of information if there is no effective plan to take action on that information. Help me, help you, by spreading the word.

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